Management Styles in the Health Care Environment

Management style in health care environments is particularly important because effective management can positively affect people’s basic health, while ineffective management can negatively affect patient care and health. The field of health care management is changing as health care delivery changes.

No longer do people go to independent doctors with small practices who employ a single person to handle insurance filing. As the world of health care and health care compensation becomes more complex, effective health care management becomes increasingly important. And when a change in health care management styles is necessary, transparency between management and employees is more important than in most...


Evidence based health care management involves management meeting regularly with those who provide direct patient care to discuss the effectiveness of various health intervention strategies. The managers must use the documented evidence that they collect from front-line health care providers to shape policy and make decisions. The goal of this style of management is to improve care quality based on evidence of what works and what does not.

Utilization is a style of health care management that puts its focus on tracking and managing the utilization of health care services by patients. Pre-certification and concurrent review are two terms you may have read in the literature provided to you about employer-based insurance. Pre-certification means that a patient’s need for treatment must be reviewed and approved by administrators either before the treatment is given or before it can be approved in an insurance claim. Concurrent review is the determination of a patient’s need for ongoing health care and is done at the time of precertification. Utilization management focuses on reducing unnecessary health care procedures to keep costs in line.

Integrative health care management focuses on improving health care quality while lowering costs by quickly adapting to changes in health care technology that can improve services. Integrative management also considers the role of government in health care provision, because the government accounts for the majority of health care spending in the United States and many other countries.

If a health care provider determines that it needs to change management models to provide better care, it is particularly important given the direct effect management can have on people’s health to make the changes without disrupting services. Doing this typically requires that the organization identify the change agents (management and directors), change implementing employees (medical staff) and change recipients (patients).

It is to be expected that changes in health care management styles will produce resistance in some people who fear loss of authority, increased workload, or job insecurity. Communication between management and employees is the best way of ensuring that resistance is addressed sufficiently. When fears are based on rumors, morale tends to drop. Allowing those who have to implement changes to have a certain amount of decision-making authority is one way to address resistance and smooth the process of changing management styles.

Health care management requires constant monitoring of effectiveness. Ineffective management techniques not only frustrate those who provide direct patient care, but can cause health care services to be delivered inefficiently, with higher costs and lower patient satisfaction.

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